AUSTIN, Texas - President Biden has released a statement condemning a law that bans most abortions in Texas. Biden said the law "blatantly violates" constitutional rights.
"The Texas law will significantly impair women’s access to the health care they need, particularly for communities of color and individuals with low incomes," Joe Biden said. "And, outrageously, it deputizes private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who they believe has helped another person get an abortion, which might even include family members, health care workers, front desk staff at a health care clinic, or strangers with no connection to the individual."
President Biden went on to say that his administration is "deeply committed to the constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade" nearly five decades ago and that it will protect and defend that right.
Abortion providers are suing to block the law. They have asked the Supreme Court to prevent enforcement of the law, but they have yet to act on the emergency appeal.
What is the new abortion law in Texas?
SB 8 prohibits abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy or after a ‘fetal heartbeat’ has been detected. Experts say that language is misleading though since the embryo isn’t yet a fetus and it doesn’t have a heart. An embryo is termed a fetus beginning in the 11th week of pregnancy, medical experts say.
The law also asks private citizens to enforce the ban by suing doctors or anyone who helps a woman get an abortion. Among other situations, that would include anyone who drives a woman to a clinic to get an abortion. Under the law, anyone who successfully sues another person would be entitled to at least $10,000.
Abortion providers who are asking the Supreme Court to step in said the law would rule out 85% of abortions in Texas and force many clinics to close. Planned Parenthood is among the abortion providers that have stopped scheduling abortions beyond six weeks from conception.
The Associated Press contributed to this article
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